Family Comes First for Canadian Crawfords
Along with training, dedication, self-belief and physical discipline, one of the contributing factors to an athlete’s success is support from family and loved ones. At PyeongChang 2018, a number of families made the trip to the Republic of Korea, all of them wanting to see the special people in their lives compete at the highest level of the sport. "That's it, it's his turn!” Caroline and Alex say as they cling nervously to their mobile phone. Their nephew, James Crawford, (Jack for short), is participating in the Super-G men’s event in Jeongseon. This is the first Olympics for both the 20-year-old Canadian athlete and his sister Candace, an athlete of several alpine events. "We only learned about their participation two weeks ago," says Caroline. "We cancelled several holidays, work meetings and everything else just to come and support them." For them, there was never any question of missing the culmination of so many years of practice and dedication. "We've watched them ski since they were three," says Alex. Encouraged from the start by their family, the athletic siblings stuck to their sport. As in all rapid descent sports, the excitement only lasts a few moments. Sadly for Jack it’s a bit shorter than usual, as he did not finish the race on this occasion. "I lost control, it was my first time at the Olympics and I got excited, luckily I have other competitions," he says later in the athletes' hotel located near the bottom of the track. Sitting in a cosy couch, he is surrounded by his adoring aunts, along with his mother and father, two more lifelong fans that have attended this important occasion. "Even though it’s getting easier, I [still] usually never watch the competition, I'm too nervous," says proud mother Laurel. From a young age, she has been charged with taking them to training all on top of looking after the house, cooking and working. In recent years, her role happily includes a new duty. "These days I mostly give hugs to comfort or congratulate them," she laughs. Laurel was the first to "guess" that her son was selected for the Olympics following a confusing, yet excited, communication from her son. "Since it wasn’t official yet, I kept saying, 'Mom, I have to tell you something important but I can’t tell you... but I have something to tell you, but I don’t have permission," Jack recalls with amusement. "I thought he got into trouble," Jokes Laurel. Their father Angus was also delighted to learn about their selection. "The first thing I said to myself was ‘that’s great [but] how am I going to prepare for a trip like this in such a short time?" He recalls. The family, now accustomed to the routine of professional athletes organizes their lives around the children's sporting calendar. To them, a small sacrifice compared to the joy of seeing them live out their dreams. Keep an eye out for the Crawfords in future Winter Games.